“I Don’t Plan To Be Single That Long”

Bless your heart.

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Something weird happened. Maybe not weird. Maybe…innocent? Well-intentioned? But to my brain, which at this point is just a small, charming rodent doing its best to pedal a penny-farthing, it felt weird. A listener of mine let me know that she shared my podcast with a friend of hers, but that the friend wouldn’t listen to it. The reason she gave? “I don’t plan to be single that long.” Honey.

I find this phrase heartbreaking. “I don’t plan to be single that long.” It implies so many shameful, scared feelings and forced optimism that’s being used to will oneself into a state of being saved. Saved from the unacceptable life state of being single. There’s so much fear and shame packed into this statement that the person who made it can’t even accept what she is for an hour of entertainment. And who could blame her? Every societal message we receive (apart from, ahem, my podcast), tells us both directly (urgency messaging from friends and family) and passively (every book, blog post, Instagram account about being single that is actually about DATING, an entirely different thing but because they’re always *married* together we absorb the message that if we’re single, we have to try to fix it, and that’s before we’ve even touched on the projectile stream of praise lauded upon those who get engaged/married) that we’re wrong. If all we know of singlehood is that it’s wrong, of course we’re not planning to stick around in it one second longer than we have to.

This statement doesn’t make me sad because I assume that this person actually will be single into infinity, or that I assume she’s lying to herself. I think neither. It makes me sad because I think about the state of mind she must be in to give this as a reason for choosing not to waste her AirPod battery on a podcast about the validity of single life. It’s clear to me that she thinks being single is a low form of living.

I don’t need to defend my beliefs as to why being single is a completely wonderful state of living, but if you need the support, I’ve already done so. What I’d like to focus on instead is the mindset behind this statement, to help anyone who feels similarly reframe the way they think and feel about their own singlehood.

A lot of this is just logic, wrapped up in my own unique store brand of frustration and anger toward society. The thing with logic though, is that you have to be willing to see it, your mind has to expand its aperture past the pinhole that Tinder wants you to look through so that it can keep serving you ads for the rest of your life because as a business model it has absolutely no interest in you finding your partner, quite the opposite. ANYWAY.

To leave you on an optimistic note, something rather Everest-like in its goals given the current year, I thought I might offer a list of things you can plan for as a single woman. It is by no means exhaustive. I want you to get comfortable identifying positives of your own, and also I need to go fold my laundry before it wrinkles.

Refusing to accept, acknowledge the validity of, or enjoy your single life will not make you single for less time. Accepting, enjoying, and shedding fear and same associated with single life only have the effect of making you happier for more time. Plan for whatever you want. But if you find that your plan isn’t working, if you find that singlehood feels disappointing, sad, lonely, frustrating, and unfair, know that you can make different plans, and that new ways of seeing and experiencing singlehood cannot and will not keep you single. That’s Tinder’s job.

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Shani Silver is a humor essayist and podcaster based in Brooklyn who writes on Medium, frequently. For a more positive take on singlehood than the one you’re probably familiar with, check out A Single Serving Podcast.

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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